JNTO wants to make Japan the ultimate destination for UAE tourists

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Updated 13 January 2020

JNTO wants to make Japan the ultimate destination for UAE tourists

  • Tourism body JINTO has identified the Middle East as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences
  • The number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million in 2013 and tripled within five years

RIYADH: As a travel destination, Japan is diverse and world-class, with 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a rich, modern pop culture.

The archipelago is more than 3,000 km long, with each prefecture and region home to its own unique offerings, including local culinary delicacies, crafts and festivals, to name a few.

In 2013, the number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million. In five years, this number tripled, meaning that in 2018 Japan welcomed over 31 million international visitors, translating to an 8.7 percent increase year-on-year.

Last year, Japan was ranked fourth in the world by the World Economic Forum for its travel and tourism competitiveness.

Japanese cuisine, shopping, hot springs and theme parks are among the principal attractions for leisure visitors.

Accommodation options across the country’s eight regions and 47 prefectures are broad, ranging from major five-star brands to ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns).

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is involved in a wide range of activities, both domestic and international, which encourage tourists from all over the world to visit the country.

Last year, the JNTO identified the Middle East as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences.

From the Middle East, the JNTO’s focus will be reaching out to and encouraging leisure travelers — including families, young adults, and those seeking wellness, luxury and authentic cultural experiences such as gourmet dining — to visit Japan.

The JNTO participated in Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market in April 2019, conducting numerous tourism seminars for the region’s travel trade professionals

Connectivity between the UAE and Japan is excellent, with Emirates Airlines flying direct daily to Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports and Osaka’s Kansai airport, and Etihad Airways offering daily direct flights to Narita Airport.

The JNTO further strengthened its presence in the region by appointing marketing and PR agency AVIAREPS as a representative to regularly collaborate with regional airline partners in conducting joint consumer promotions, advertising campaigns and ongoing marketing activities that serve to generate greater awareness of Japan’s attractions.

The JNTO encourages visitors from the Middle East seeking an authentic experience to not simply limit their visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, but also to use the opportunity to venture out to places such as Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa.

The JNTO is planning to renew and expand its official Arabic-language website this year to ensure that relevant, up-to-date information is made available to all.

The organization is committed to furthering its activities in the Middle East so that an increasing number of travelers can easily learn more about the touristic treasures Japan has to offer.

Daisuke Kobayashi is a senior official of the Japan National Tourism Organization in the Middle East.

$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

Updated 09 July 2020

$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

  • Overseas holdings in Istanbul stock exchange are at lowest in 16 years

ANKARA: Foreign capital is flooding out of Turkey in a massive vote of no confidence in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic competence.
Overseas investors have withdrawn nearly $8 billion from Turkish stocks since January, according to Central Bank statistics, reducing foreign investment in the Istanbul stock exchange from $32.3 billion to $24.4 billion.
As recently as 2013, the figure was $82 billion, and foreign investors now own less than 50 percent of stocks for the first time in 16 years.
“Foreign investment has left Turkey for several reasons, both internal and external,” Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, told Arab News.
“Externally, investors fled riskier assets like emerging markets during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those flows are returning, but investors are being much more discerning and Turkey does not seem so attractive.”
In terms of internal factors, Thin said that Turkish policymakers had made it hard for foreign investors to transact in Turkey. “This includes real money clients, not just speculative.
“By implementing ad hoc measures to try and limit speculative activity, Turkey has made it hard for real money as well. Besides these problems, Turkey’s fundamentals remain poor compared to much of the emerging markets.”
Erdogan allies claim international players are manipulating the Istanbul stock exchange through automated trading, and have demanded action to make it difficult for them to trade in Turkish assets.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Credit Suisse were banned this month from short-selling stocks for up to three months, and this year local lenders were briefly banned by the banking regulator from trading in Turkish lira with Citigroup, BNP Paribas and UBS
JPMorgan was investigated by Turkish authorities last year after the bank published a report that advised its clients to short sell the Turkish lira.
MSCI, the provider of research-based indexes and analytics, warned last month that it may relegate Turkey from emerging market status to frontier-market status because of bans on short selling and stock lending.
With the market becoming less transparent, overseas fund managers, especially with short-term portfolios, are unenthusiastic about the Turkish market and are becoming more concerned about any forthcoming introduction of other liquidity restrictions.
The exodus of foreign capital is likely to undermine Turkey’s drive for economic growth, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when employment and investment levels have gone down, with the Turkish lira facing serious volatility.